The other day I was speaking with a frustrated client and she said to me "But Amy works out for 1 hour every day and she has two kids... Why can't I do that?"
In my response I said to her "...because Amy has created non-negotiables for herself. This is one of them."
I want you to think of a few daily or weekly tasks that you do. These can be small tasks. Or they can be larger things that you complete on a regular or semi-regular basis. Drinking 2 litres of water, taking the dog to the park, calling your Mother, getting steps in, getting to the gym, doing your skincare routine, going on a hike, meeting with friends.
Now, can someone talk you out of doing any one of these things for a day? Can you talk yourself out of doing any one of these things? If so, it isn't a non-negotiable. It is not high enough on your priority list to be completed regardless of what is going on in your life.
Creating non-negotiables for yourself is one of the first steps in successful goal mapping.
I've always loved the analogy of health and travel - even though majorly overused. But rightfully so, because those two have so much in common and it's such a great way for us to make sense of something with the help of something already so well known to us. The thing about goals is that if we just took a similar approach to them as we did traveling, we wouldn't find ourselves failing so often.
On January 1st, you don't wake up in the morning deciding that you want to visit 21 countries in the year and then show up at the airport in the afternoon. Travel always comes with hiccups and delays. And to ensure that you don't end up giving up on a flight back to your hometown, you either need a lot of grit and determination, or you need a well planned itinerary.
And I won't downplay the need for a lot of grit when it comes to tackling goals, especially if we're setting long term ones. But why put yourself through unnecessary hardship when you have many other things going on in your life that you need to worry about?
This is where non-negotiables come into play and why they can be so helpful.
Think of your non-negotiables as your foundation.
For example - "Not staying in a hostel" can be a non-negotiable for travel. It also lays a foundation of what your accommodations will look like.
Let's dive into some details.
What are non-negotiables?
Non-negotiables are regular activities or tasks that you have set in stone. No matter the situation, rain or shine, chaos at home, kids are screaming, boss is calling - you get them done. Because that's just the way it is. These are things that you nor anyone else can talk or convince you out of doing.
Who needs to create non-negotiables?
Everybody. Literally, everyone. We should all have a small list of daily things that give us a sense of routine, pride and accomplishment.
Why do we need non-negotiables?
At the end of the day, we all want to feel accomplished, productive. And we want lay our head on the pillow knowing we did exactly what we set out to do for the day. Creating intention and a plan of action for each day drives success. Once we have non-negotiables, we have a foundation. We have a list of things that we can rely on to give us that feeling, even when life gets absolutely out of hand.
The magic of non-negotiables is that they fit seamlessly into your lifestyle and routine. To a point where you no longer have to consciously act on them. They just get completed.
That's when you can create new, larger ones or build on your current ones.
For example - my current non-negotiable is to walk 7-10k steps a day. Soon I'll be at a point where my non-negotiable will be to walk 9-10k steps a day, eliminating the days where I'm below 9.
How do we create non-negotiables?
Well, we start small. Smaller than we migh